K-array’s Green Legacy

During the summer, Montreal hosts several important (and often large) cultural events and outdoor festivals. It’s almost as if the city wants to “get even” with its citizens who are forced to remain indoors over the long winter months when temperatures often drop below -20° C (-4° F).

Festival de la Musique et des Arts Osheaga is one of Montreal’s largest summer events. The first edition was held in 2006 and the latest one was held last summer from August 2nd to the 5th in Parc Jean-Drapeau, the large green lung on Ile St. Hélène, a natural island in the Saint Laurent River which flows through the city. 

Though we cannot confirm it, there are reasons to believe that it owes its unique name to the assonance with “Hochelaga” the Iroquoian village built on Saint Laurent island, near Mont Royal. This is the village where Jacques Cartier debarked in 1535,  also marking the arrival of the Europeans in the Northern part of the New Continent.

The Osheaga programme has always featured a large and interesting line-up of upcoming bands alongside more renowned musicians (for example Sigur Ros and Amadou&Mariam who both performed in the last edition). The wind up to the event starts on the weekends prior to the music festival dates with lots of performances and contemporary art exhibitions opened to the public.  This year, one of the five Osheaga stages was named the “Scène Verte” which symbolized that “going green” is possible even in the world of music and concerts. This was possible thanks to Sennheiser Canada, who in partnership with Solotech, sponsored the “Scène Verte”. They provided the sound distribution system with the Italian brand K-array (Sennheiser is K-array’s Canadian distributor), which outperformed in terms of quality and impact  while keeping an eye on environmental awareness.

Vaino Gennaro is Sennheiser Canada Live Sound division Business Director and it is to him we owe the implementation of the Osheaga green project: “I took it upon myself to have the right ‘elements’ at the right time: Pierre Tougas a professional and experienced sound engineer with a proven record both on a national and on an international level, the K-array sound distribution system, and the contribution of the rental company Solotech. Everything ran smoothly and K-array proved that the new sound technologies can play their part in environmental conservation: compactness and lightness saved up on energy for transport as well as on electrical power demand during the concerts without forgetting that mounting the two clusters on the sides of the stage required the work of just four people in just one hour. However, the most interesting aspect is that we weren’t forced to find a compromise between distribution quality and power, the two factors being crucial considering a crowd of 15,000 people”.

Tougas and Vaino opted for the most “vigorous” models of the K-array catalogue and an experimented design due to the fact that “considering the level of artists on stage, and the size of the area, we needed guaranteed power and coverage” as Tougas told us. Thus, the system included two side clusters made up of five KH4s plus five KS4s each, completed by other four KS4s on each side. The large attendance and above all the music schedule which included a considerable amount of low frequencies, required the addition of six K070 modules, simply placed on the ground. The final touch was the presence of six KH15s, arranged on the front edge of the stage and used as front fill for the first rows of the audience.  Some modules were delivered “pre-assembled” on site and the cables had been preset on the previous days to optimize time.

“We had already tested this system at the Montebello D-Tox Rockfest (Canada)”, added Tougas “and it fully met our needs. We were able to keep a very tight pattern in the vertical dispersion hence achieving a coherent frequency response as well as a high SPL over the entire distance. Calibration was easy as a ‘stroll in the park’ thanks to the inherent K-array simplicity and the previous experience with this system.”

In addition, the Osheaga installation drew the attention of various journalists who had come to Montreal to directly witness the potential of the K-array systems. Lastly, we sought further comments from Tougas who quipped: “Definitely, though you would have to keep most of them off the record! All jokes aside, the sound technicians of the artists and the production team were very impressed by the system, it was a massive success”.

info: www.osheaga.com
info: www.k-array.com

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